New Urban Bike Park in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS – a gorgeous day to get out and enjoy the weather, maybe even go for a bike ride. There’s a new place in Grand Rapids to check out. It’s the city’s first mountain bike pump track trail.

Mayor George Heartwell left his business suit at home today. Dressed head to toe in biking gear he cut the ribbon and was the first to test out the city’s new urban bike pumptrack near Burton and U.S. 131 in Grand Rapids. “let’s ride”! Said Heartwell.

 It’s a lot of dirt and bumps, but the idea is to ride the track without having to peddle but take it from these kids

“it’s a lot of hard work, and you gotta have a lot of experience,” said 10 year-old Markwane Billingsley.

“I took the inaugural first spill into the mud puddle”

The dream of transforming the once vandalized, graffiti covered park goes beyond the small dirt track. The plan is to expand the project further into the neighborhood as a mountain bike trail along plaster creek. “Even in the most difficult times this city has known, this state has known since the great depression, we can do something like this, it gives people an opportunity to come out as families and ride together,” said Mayor Heartwell.

It was a partnership between the city and a lot of sweat from volunteers with the Michigan Mountain Biking Association to get to this point. “The city just had this park sitting with nothing to do, and we had a lot of graffiti a lot of gang activity, which we still experience today, a lot of prostitutes, a lot of drug activity,” said Doug Doerr, Vice President of “helmets On”.

The old and abandoned Southwest Little League Park is now a place of refuge for kids in the neighborhood, a place where the fun doesn’t cost a thing. It’s open to the public dawn to dusk. It keeps the kids out of trouble.

“You get a good work out,” said Jarod Smith.

“I like that you can come out here and spend time with your friends and stuff,” said Billingsley

The sport has been gaining popularity since being declared the newest Olympic event a couple of years ago, and no matter how experienced you are,

“I’ve been doing this for 3 years, this is my second year, first day.”

If you happen to you fall off, you gotta get right back on.

“i’ll be back,” said Heartwell.

Copyright © 2010, FOX 17 – West Michigan’s FOX

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